Endowed with 12 precious stones engraved with the names of Israel's tribes, its letters could become illuminated miraculously, thereby answering questions asked of G-d while worn by the High Priest .
Despite the miraculous nature of the message, it was still possible to miss the point. The letters that would become illuminated weren't necessarily in order.
Thus explains the reaction of Eli the High Priest to Chana, mother of the prophet Shmuel. Chana had entered the Tabernacle to plead intensely before G-d for a righteous child. Mistaking her emotion for drunkenness, Shmuel asked G-d about her character.
The letters illuminated on the breastplate were shin, caf, resh, hey - shikorah - drunken lady. Eli sought to expel her. "No," she explained, "I'm broken-hearted for a child." Eli then understood that those letters also spell caf, shin, resh, hey - kesherah, or holy lady.
The breastplate doesn't just apply to the High Priest. Messages can unfold in a manner that are clearly from G-d. Yet rushing forward in a feeling of judgment or upset, we can still miss their intent. At the same time, consider how close at hand Divine messages are, especially if we don't muddy the waters!